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Courts: Buildings

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL1532, tabled on 16 July 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many court buildings from the court estate were disposed of between May 2010 and June 2015 by (1) sale, or (2) rental; and how much money was raised in each case.

Answered on

29 July 2015

Between May 2010 and June 2015 we sold 105 court buildings that were unsuitable for use and often underused. A further three court buildings have been transferred to the Avon and Somerset Police in which the MoJ still retains a financial interest. As at 30 June 2015 we generated £82.866m in capital receipts from the sale of 105 surplus court buildings. None of the surplus court buildings generated a rental income.

Capital receipts from the disposal of surplus property assets formed part of the capital budget for investment in the justice system.

The department is committed to disposing of surplus property assets expeditiously and reducing holding costs. The disposal of surplus property assets is, however, dependent on a number of factors e.g. market, potential future use, location and the fact that some are occupied in part by the police and local authorities which also make disposal difficult. There are temporary costs associated with making sure unused buildings are kept secure and protecting the fabric of the building as well as property rates payable to local councils. The maintenance costs between May 2010 and May 2015 for the courts which were closed under CERP can only be provided at disproportionate costs.

On 16 July 2015, HMCTS published a consultation on the provision of court and tribunal estate in England and Wales. The consultation puts forward proposals that aim to reduce surplus capacity by closing courts and tribunals that are unused or underused, or that are simply unsuitable for the services we need to provide from them. The proposals aim to reduce the cost of the estate and reinvest the savings to provide better access to justice.

When disposing of surplus property assets, the Ministry of Justice will always seek to achieve the best available overall value for money for the taxpayer in accordance with government guidelines